WGBH Forum Network; Writing on the Walls: American Prison Writing
Writing on the Walls: American Prison Writing H. Bruce Franklin, professor, Rutgers University Jennifer Gonnerman, writer Jean Trounstine, writer Dwayne Betts, writer, founder, YoungMenRead Piri Thomas, writer, former prison inmate PEN New England's Freedom-to-Write (FTW) Committee, and the Cambridge Forum, host Writing on the Walls, a panel discussion about writing in, from, and about American prisons. The panel is moderated by Dr. H. Bruce Franklin, Rutgers University professor and author of Prison Writings in 20th Century America, and features Jennifer Gonnerman, former Village Voice reporter, and author of the National Book Award finalist Life on the Outside: The Prison Odyssey of Elaine Bartlett; Jean Trounstine, author of Shakespeare Behind Bars: The Power of Drama in a Women's Prison, documenting her ten years of work at Framingham Women's Prison teaching literature and writing; and Dwayne Betts, former inmate of eight years and gifted poet, and founder of the YoungMenRead book club at the Washington, DC, bookstore he managed. The subject of a recent feature article in the Washington Post, he's now a Writer in Residence at the DC Creative Writing Workshops and a Cave Canem fellow. Writing on the Walls is being held in conjunction with the presentation of PEN New England's annual Vasyl Stus Freedom-to-Write Award and the Thomas Paine Freedom-to-Write Award for American Writers. The 2007 Paine Award will be presented to Piri Thomas, author of the seminal 1967 memoir Down These Mean Streets chronicling 'his downward spiral from the barrio to Sing Sing [as well as] his redemption . . . through suffering, endurance, and desire for understanding.' PEN New England is one of five regional branches of PEN American Center, which in turn is part of International PEN, the only worldwide organization of writing professionals, and the world's first human rights organization. PEN's mission is to promote literacy and a culture of literature, and to defend free expression everywhere.
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WRITING ON THE WALLS: AMERICAN PRISON WRITING H. BRUCE FRANKLIN, PROFESSOR, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY JENNIFER GONNERMAN, WRITER JEAN TROUNSTINE, WRITER DWAYNE BETTS, WRITER, FOUNDER, YOUNGMENREAD PIRI THOMAS, WRITER, FORMER PRISON INMATE
PEN NEW ENGLAND'S FREEDOM-TO-WRITE (FTW) COMMITTEE, AND THE CAMBRIDGE FORUM, HOST WRITING ON THE WALLS, A PANEL DISCUSSION ABOUT WRITING IN, FROM, AND ABOUT AMERICAN PRISONS. THE PANEL IS MODERATED BY DR. H. BRUCE FRANKLIN, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND AUTHOR OF PRISON WRITINGS IN 20TH CENTURY AMERICA, AND FEATURES JENNIFER GONNERMAN, FORMER VILLAGE VOICE REPORTER, AND AUTHOR OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST LIFE ON THE OUTSIDE: THE PRISON ODYSSEY OF ELAINE BARTLETT; JEAN TROUNSTINE, AUTHOR OF SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS: THE POWER OF DRAMA IN A WOMEN'S PRISON, DOCUMENTING HER TEN YEARS OF WORK AT FRAMINGHAM WOMEN'S PRISON TEACHING LITERATURE AND WRITING; AND DWAYNE BETTS, FORMER INMATE OF EIGHT YEARS AND GIFTED POET, AND FOUNDER OF THE YOUNGMENREAD BOOK CLUB AT THE WASHINGTON, DC, BOOKSTORE HE MANAGED. THE SUBJECT OF A RECENT FEATURE ARTICLE IN THE WASHINGTON POST, HE'S NOW A WRITER IN RESIDENCE AT THE DC CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS AND A CAVE CANEM FELLOW.
WRITING ON THE WALLS IS BEING HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PRESENTATION OF PEN NEW ENGLAND'S ANNUAL VASYL STUS FREEDOM-TO-WRITE AWARD AND THE THOMAS PAINE FREEDOM-TO-WRITE AWARD FOR AMERICAN WRITERS. THE 2007 PAINE AWARD WILL BE PRESENTED TO PIRI THOMAS, AUTHOR OF THE SEMINAL 1967 MEMOIR DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS CHRONICLING 'HIS DOWNWARD SPIRAL FROM THE BARRIO TO SING SING [AS WELL AS] HIS REDEMPTION . . . THROUGH SUFFERING, ENDURANCE, AND DESIRE FOR UNDERSTANDING.'
PEN NEW ENGLAND IS ONE OF FIVE REGIONAL BRANCHES OF PEN AMERICAN CENTER, WHICH IN TURN IS PART OF INTERNATIONAL PEN, THE ONLY WORLDWIDE ORGANIZATION OF WRITING PROFESSIONALS, AND THE WORLD'S FIRST HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATION. PEN'S MISSION IS TO PROMOTE LITERACY AND A CULTURE OF LITERATURE, AND TO DEFEND FREE EXPRESSION EVERYWHERE.
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- Chicago: “WGBH Forum Network; Writing on the Walls: American Prison Writing,” 04/19/2007, GBH Archives, accessed May 18, 2022, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6CCE81D8BB47415886DBB6DF000D013C.
- MLA: “WGBH Forum Network; Writing on the Walls: American Prison Writing.” 04/19/2007. GBH Archives. Web. May 18, 2022. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6CCE81D8BB47415886DBB6DF000D013C>.
- APA: WGBH Forum Network; Writing on the Walls: American Prison Writing. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_6CCE81D8BB47415886DBB6DF000D013C